Contrary to what most people think of Texas, Austin is the Berkley of the Lone Star State. Other Texans refer to it as the People’s Republic of Austin. It’s really that horrible. Go ahead and keep removing all references to the American Civil War and there just might be another one.

Austin American Statesman: The Austin school board on Monday night voted to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary, the first time the district has changed the name of a school because of its ties to the Confederacy.

In an 8-1 vote, trustees chose Russell Lee Elementary, the name favored among the school’s parents and teachers. Trustee Paul Saldaña cast the dissenting vote.

Some community members voiced support for that name because the school already is referred to as just Lee, and the majority of trustees went along with that recommendation.

Russell Lee was a critically acclaimed Depression-era photographer and a founder of the University of Texas photography department. He also lived in the neighborhood. A major collection of his work is archived at the University of Texas’ Briscoe Center for American History.

Trustee Amber Elenz said she felt the board should honor the choice made by parents and teachers at the school.

This name change is really only happening because the school asked us to make it happen,” Elenz said. “The decision of name choices came to us solely through the hard work, long hours and collaborative efforts of the school’s leadership within the campus’ advisory council. The recommendation to name the school Russell Lee Elementary is the result of a clearly defined, open, transparent and purposeful process that was developed by and for the Lee Elementary school community.” More